Walter W. Naumburg Foundation

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The Walter W. Naumburg Foundation sponsors competitions and provides awards for young classical musicians in North America. It was founded in 1925 by Walter Wehle Naumburg, a wealthy amateur cellist and son of noted New York City music patron and philanthropist Elkan Naumburg. Elkan Naumburg, owner of the eminent Wall Street bank E. Naumburg & Co., founded the Naumburg Orchestral Concerts in 1905. The Concerts were originally performed at the Bandstand on the Concert Ground of New York's Central Park, and starting in 1923 were performed in the Naumburg Bandshell at the same location.

The Naumburg Competition is one of the oldest and most prestigious music competitions in the world. The website San Francisco Classical Voice writes that "the Naumburg Competition has one of the best track records of selecting young musicians who, in short order, build significant careers".[1] The first competition was held in 1926. In an open audition format, pianists, violinists, and cellists were all eligible to compete. In 1928 it was expanded to include vocalists. The prize included cash awards and the opportunity to play concerts in New York's Town Hall, which virtually insured reviews by New York's most influential music critics. In 1946, Aaron Copland and William Schuman joined the Naumburg Foundation board of directors, and shortly afterwards the Foundation began awarding composers with recording projects. In 1961, the format of the competition was changed into a professional competition with a single winner, for one particular discipline. In 1965, the competition was expanded to include chamber music ensembles.

Since the early 1970s, the Naumburg Competition has generally rotated three different categories - piano, strings, and voice - on a triennial basis (although there have also been competitions for flute, clarinet, and classical guitar). Winners receive a cash prize and two recital appearances in Alice Tully Hall. Other opportunities include a recording project, a commission (to be premiered in one of the Alice Tully Hall recitals) and many performance opportunities throughout the United States.

Previous winners of the International Naumburg Competition include Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg, Elmar Oliveira, Dawn Upshaw, Robert Mann, Leonidas Kavakos, and Harvey Shapiro. Winners of the Chamber Music Award include the American, Brentano, Miro, and Muir string quartets, and the Eroica Trio.

Winners of the International Naumburg Competition[edit]

  • 1925

Catherine Wade-Smith, violinist
Adeline Masino, violinist
Bernard Ocko, violinist

  • 1926

Phyllis Kraeuter, cellist
Margaret Hamilton, pianist
Sonia Skalka, pianist

  • 1927

Dorothy Kendrick, pianist
William Sauber, pianist
Sadah Schwartz-Shuchari, violinist
Daniel Saidenberg, cellist
Julian Kahn, cellist

  • 1928

Adele Marcus, pianist
Helen Berlin, violinist
Louis Kaufman, violinist
Olga Zundel, cellist
George Rasely, tenor
August Werner, baritone

  • 1930

Helen McGraw, pianist
Ruth Culbertson, pianist
Mila Wellerson, cellist
Louise Bernhardt, contralto

  • 1931

Lillian Rehberg Goodman, cellist
Marguerite Hawkins, soprano
Edwiria Eustis, contralto
Kurtis Brownell, tenor

  • 1932

Milo Miloradovich, soprano
Foster Miller, bass-baritone
Dalies Frantz, pianist
Huddie Johnson, pianist
Inez Lauritano, violinist

  • 1933

Catherine Carver, pianist
Harry Katzman, violinist

  • 1934

Joseph Knitzer, violinist
Ruby Mercer, soprano

  • 1935

Benjamin De Loache, baritone
Judith Sidorsky, pianist
Aniceta Shea, soprano
Harvey Shapiro, cellist
Florence Vickland, soprano
Marshall Moss, violinist

  • 1936

Frederick Buldrini, violinist

  • 1937

Jorge Bolet, pianist
Ida Krehm, pianist
Pauline Pierce, mezzo-soprano
Maurice Bialkin, cellist

  • 1938

Carroll Glenn, violinist

  • 1939

Mara Sebriansky, violinist
William Horne, tenor
Zadel Skolovsky, pianist
Gertrude Gibson, soprano

  • 1940

Abbey Simon, pianist
Harry Cykman, violinist
Thomas Richner, pianist

  • 1941

William Kapell, pianist
Robert Mann, violinist
Lura Stover, soprano

  • 1942

Jane Rogers, contralto
Annette Elkanova, pianist
David Sarser, violinist

  • 1943

Dolores Miller, violinist
Constance Keene, pianist
Ruth Geiger, pianist

  • 1944

Jeanne Therrien, pianist
Jean Carlton, soprano
Carol Brice, contralto

  • 1945

Jane Boedeker, mezzo-soprano
Paula Lenchner, soprano

  • 1946

Leonid Hambro, pianist
Jeanne Rosenbium, pianist
Anahid Ajemian, violinist

  • 1947

Berl Senofsky, violinist
Abba Bogin, pianist
Jane Carlson, pianist

  • 1948

Sidney Harth, violinist
Paul Olefsky, cellist
Theodore Lettvin, pianist

  • 1949

Lorne Munroe, cellist

  • 1950

Angelene Collins, soprano
Esther Glazer, violinist
Betty Jean Hagen, violinist
Margaret Barthel, pianist

  • 1951

June Kovach, pianist
Laurel Hurley, soprano
Joyce Flissler, violinist

  • 1952

Diana Steiner, violinist
Yoko Matsuo, violinist
Lois Marshall, soprano

  • 1953

Gilda Muhlbauer, violinist
Lee Cass, bass-baritone
Georgia Laster, soprano

  • 1954

William Doppmann, pianist
Jean Wentworth, pianist
Jules Eskin, cellist
Martha Flowers, soprano

  • 1955

Ronald Leonard, cellist
Mary MacKenzie, contralto
Nancy Cirillo, violinist

  • 1956

Donald McCall, cellist
Wayne Connor, tenor
George Katz, pianist

  • 1957

Regina Sarfaty, mezzo-soprano
Angelica Lozada, soprano
Michael Grebanier, cellist

  • 1958

Joseph Schwartz, pianist
Shirley Verrett, mezzo-soprano
Elaine Lee, violinist

  • 1959

Howard Aibel, pianist
Sophia Steffan, soprano
Ralph Votapek, pianist

  • 1960

Joseph Silverstein, violinist

  • 1961

Werner Torkanowsky, conductor

  • 1964

Elizabeth Mosher, soprano

  • 1968

Jorge Mester, conductor

  • 1971

Kun-Woo Paik, pianist
Zola Shaulis, pianist

  • 1972

Robert Davidovici, violinist

  • 1973 Voice

Edmund LeRoy, baritone First Prize
Barbara Hendricks, soprano Second Prize
Susan Davenny Wyner, soprano Third Prize

  • 1974 Piano

Andre-Michel Schub, First Prize
Edith Kraft, Second Prize
Dickran Atamian, Third Prize

  • 1975-76 (50th Anniversary Competitions)

Piano: Dickran Atamian, pianist
Voice: Clamma Dale and Joy Simpson, sopranos (co-winners)
Violin: Elmar Oliveira, violinist

  • 1977 Cello

Nathaniel Rosen, First Prize
Thomas Demenga, Second Prize
Georg Faust, Third Prize

  • 1978 Flute

Carol Wincenc, First Prize
Marya Martin, Second Prize
Gary Schocker, Third Prize

  • 1979 Piano

Peter Orth, First Prize
Miryo Park, Second Prize
Panayis Lyras, Third Prize

  • 1980 Voice (four winners)

Faith Esham, soprano
Irene Gubrud, soprano
Jan Opalach, bass-baritone
Lucy Shelton, soprano

  • 1981 Violin

Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg

  • 1981 Cello

Colin Carr

  • 1982 Viola

Thomas Riebl

  • 1983 Piano

Stephen Hough, First Prize
David Allen Wehr, Second Prize
William Wolfram, Third Prize

  • 1984 Violin (No First Prize awarded)

Carmit Zori, Second Prize
Ian Swensen, Second Prize (co-winners)

  • 1985 Voice

Dawn Upshaw, soprano, First Prize
Christopher Trakas, baritone, First Prize

  • 1985 Clarinet

Charles Neidich, First Prize
John Grey, Second Prize
Daniel McKelway, Third Prize

  • 1986 Cello

Andrés Diáz, First Prize
Truls Mørk, Second Prize
Peter Wiley, Third Prize

  • 1987 Piano

Anton Nel, First Prize
Andrew Wilde, Second Prize
William Wolfram, Third Prize

  • 1988 Violin

Leonidas Kavakos, First Prize
Peter Winograd, Second Prize
Peter Matzka, Third Prize

  • 1989 Voice

Stanford Olsen, tenor, First Prize
David Malis, baritone, Second Prize
Marietta Simpson, mezzo-soprano, Third Prize

  • 1990 Cello

Hai-Ye Ni, First Prize
Gustav Rivinius, Second Prize
Marius May, Third Prize

  • 1991 Viola

Misha Amory, First Prize
Paul Coletti, Second Prize
Roberto Diáz, Third Prize

  • 1992 Piano

Awadagin Pratt, First Prize
Mikhail Yanovitsky, Second Prize
Alan Gampel, Third Prize

  • 1993 Violin

Tomohiro Okumura, First Prize
Yehonatan Berick, Second Prize
Michael Shih, Third Prize

  • 1994 Voice

Theresa Santiago, soprano, First Prize
Leon Williams, baritone, Second Prize
Christópheren Nomura, baritone, Third Prize

  • 1996 Classical Guitar

Jorge Caballero, First Prize
Jason Vieaux, Second Prize
Kevin Gallagher, Third Prize

  • 1997 Piano

Steven Osborne, First Prize
Anthony Molinaro, First Prize (co-winners)

  • 1998 Violin

Axel Strauss, First Prize
Jasmine Lin, Second Prize
Jennifer Frautschi, Third Prize

  • 1999 Voice

Stephen Salters, baritone, First Prize
Randall Scarlata, baritone, Second Prize
Hyunah Yu, soprano, Third Prize

  • 2001 Violoncello

Clancy Newman, First Prize
Li Wei Qin, First Prize (co-winners)

  • 2002 Piano

Gilles Vonsattel, First Prize
Konstantin Soukovetski, Second Prize
Lev Vincour, Third Prize

  • 2003 Violin

Frank Huang, First Prize
Ayano Ninomiya, Second Prize
Sharon Roffman, Third Prize

  • 2005 Voice

Sari Gruber, First Prize
Thomas Meglioranza, Second Prize
Tyler Duncan, Third Prize
Amanda Forsythe, Honorable Mention

  • 2006 Viola

David Carpenter, First Prize
Eric Nowlin, Second Prize
Jonah Sirota, Third Prize
David Kim, Honorable Mention

  • 2008 Cello

David Requiro and Anita Leuzinger, First Prize
Sébastien Hurtaud, Third Prize
Saeunn Thorsteindottir, Zara Nelsova Prize
Umberto Clerici, Honorable Mention
David Eggert, Honorable mention

  • 2010 Piano

Soyeon Lee, First Prize
Alexandre Moutouzkine, co-Second Prize
Ran Dank, co-Second Prize
Christopher Guzman, Honorable Mention

  • 2012 Violin

Tessa Lark, First Prize
Elly Suh, Second Prize
Kristin Lee, Third Prize

  • 2014 Voice

Julia Bullock, First Prize
Sidney Outlaw, Second Prize
Hyo Na Kim, Honorable Mention
Michael Kelly, Honorable mention

  • 2015 Cello

Lev Sivkov, First Prize
Jay Campbell and Brannon Cho, Second Prize

  • 2017 Piano

Albert Cano Smit and Xiaohui Yang, First Prize
Tiffany Poon, Second Prize

  • 2018 Violin

Grace Park, First Prize
Shannon Lee, Second Prize
Danbi Um, Third Prize


  1. ^ Serinus, Jason Victor (2010-12-28). "The Naumburg Comptetition: Formula One for Finding Talent".